What does it all mean?

A by no means exhaustive list of rare, obscure, strange and sometimes funny words and their meanings that only seem to crop up in crosswords and dictionaries. Words that are used so seldom, you wonder who invented them and why.


abacinate – To blind by putting a hot copper basin near someone’s eyes
abderian – Given to incessant or idiotic laughter
abecedarian – A person who is learning the alphabet
abligurition – Excessive spending on food and drink
accubation – The practice of eating or drinking while lying down
adelphepothia – An incestuous desire for one’s sister
adelphirexia – An incestuous desire for one’s nephew
adelphithymia – An incestuous desire for one’s niece
adoxography – Skilled writing on an unimportant subject
aeolist – A pompous windy bore who pretends to have inspiration
agelast – A person who never laughs
agerasia – The state of looking younger than one actually is
agraffe – The wire that holds the cork in a champagne bottle
algerining – Prowling around with the intent to commit burglary
alphamegamia – The marriage between a young woman and an older man
anopisthography – The practice of writing on one side of the paper
apodyopsis – The act of mentally undressing someone
autohagiographer – One who speaks or writes in a smug fashion about their own life and accomplishments
autolatry – The worship of one’s self
autotonsorialist – One who cuts their own hair


basorexia – An overwhelming desire to neck or kiss
bathykolpian – Deep-bosomed
batrachophagous – One who eats frogs
blandiloquent – Speaking in a flattering or ingratiating manner
bletcherous – Pertaining to something poorly or disgustingly designed
bombilate – To loudly hum or buzz continuously
borborygmus – The rumbling sound of gas passing through the intestine
brevirostrate – Having a short nose
bromidrosis – Strongly smelling perspiration
brontide – The low rumbling of distant thunder


cachinnation – Loud or hysterical laughter
cacoethes – A bad habit or insatiable urge
cagamosis – An unhappy marriage
callipygean – Having well-shaped buttocks
cancatervate – To heap up into a pile
capernoited – Slightly intoxicated or tipsy
cataglottism – Kissing using the tongue, French kissing
causeuse – A sofa built for two people
charientism – An artfully veiled insult
cheiloproclitic – Being attracted to a person’s lips
chirotonsor – An alternate title for a barber
cleptobiosis – The act of plundering food
clithridiate – Key-hole-shaped
colposinquanonia – Estimating a woman’s beauty based on her chest
concilliabule – A secret meeting of people who are hatching a plot
cruciverbalist – One who loves doing crossword puzzles


dactylion – The tip of the middle finger
dactylonomy – Counting using one’s fingers
decubitis – The act or attitude of lying down
defenestrate – To throw out of a window
dehisce – To burst open, as the pod of a plant
dentiloquent – Pertaining to one who talks through their teeth
dephlogisticate – To make something fireproof
digamy – A second marriage after the death or divorce of a previous spouse
dippoldism – The act of beating or whipping school children
dompteuse – A woman who trains animals


eccedentesiast – One who fakes a smile, as on television
emunction – The act of removing obstructions from or cleaning bodily passages
estrapade – A horses’s attempt to remove its rider
exsibilation – The collective hisses of a disapproving audience


farctate – The state of being stuffed with food (overeating)
filipendulous – Suspended by a single thread
floccinaucinihilipilification – The categorising of something that is useless or trivial
fuscoferuginous – Having a dark rusty colour


gambrinous – Being full of beer
gargalesis – Heavy tickling
gargalesthesia – The sensation caused by tickling
ginglyform – Hinge-shaped
gongoozler – An idle spectator
gossypiboma – A surgical sponge accidently left inside a patient’s body
gowpen – A double handful
grapholagnia – The urge to stare at obscene pictures
gymnophoria – The sensation that someone is mentally undressing you


hadeharia – The practice of constantly using the word “Hell” in speaking
hamartithia – Being likely to make a mistake
hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian – Pertaining to extremely long words
honorificabilitudinitatibus – With honour


inaniloquent – Speaking foolishly or saying silly things
interfenestration – The space between two windows


jentacular – Pertaining to breakfast
jumentous – Smelling like horse urine


knismesis – Light tickling
krukolibidinous – The act of staring at someone’s crotch
kyphorrhinos – Having a nose with a bump in it


lalochezia – The use of foul or abusive language to relieve stress or ease pain
lethologica – The inability to recall a precise word for something
liripip – The long tail of a hood in medieval or academic costume
lygerastia – The condition of one who is only amorous when the lights are out


maledicent – One who is addicted to abusive speech
mallemaroking – The carousing of seamen on board Greenland whaling ships
mammothrept – A child who is raised and spoiled by their grandmother
maritodespotism – Tyrranical rulership of a woman by her husband
matronolagnia – An attraction to older women, especially ones who have children
misocapnist – One who hates the smell of tobacco smoke
misodoctakleidist – Someone who hates practicing the piano
mulligrubs – A state of depression or low spirits
mumpsimus – One who sticks obstinately and wrongly to their old ways
mytacism – The incorrect or excessive use of the letter M


nelipot – Someone who walks without shoes
nepheligenous – Producing clouds of tobacco smoke
nidorosity – Belching with the taste of undigested meat
nudiustertian – Pertaining to the day before yesterday


oculoplania – Letting one’s eyes wander while assessing someone’s charms
onychophagy – The habit of biting one’s fingernails


pandiculation – Stretching and yawning before going to bed or after waking up
petrichor – The smell of rain on dry ground
philosophunculist – One who pretends to know more than they do to impress others
pogonotomy – The act of cutting a beard
polyphloisboian – Making a lot of noise or loud racket
preantepenultimate – Fourth from last
prosopography – The description of a person’s appearance

psithurism – The sound of wind in trees or rustling leaves
pyknic – Short and fat


qualtagh – The first person you see after leaving your house
quidnunc – One who always wants to know what is going on
quomodocunquize – To make money by any means possible


recumbentibus – A knockout blow, either verbal or physical
runcation – The act of weeding


sabrage – The act of opening a bottle with a sabre
saprostomous – Having bad breath
scacchic – Pertaining to the game of chess, or to chess pieces
sciapodous – Having huge feet
scolecophagous – One who eats worms
sgiomlaireached – The habit of dropping in at mealtimes
skoptsy – The act of self castration
slubberdegullion – A filthy, slobbering person
sphallolalia – Flirtatious talk that leads nowhere
steatopygic – Having a fat behind
strikhedonia – The pleasure of being able to say to hell with it


tachyphagia – Fast eating
tarantism – An urge to overcome melancholy by dancing
tetrapyloctomy – The act of splitting a hair four ways
thelemic – Permitting people to do as they like
tibialoconcupiscent – Having a lascivious interest in watching a woman put on stockings


ulotrichous – Having very wooly hair
ultracrepidarian – Of one who speaks or offers opinions on matters beyond their knowledge
usufructuary – A person who has use or enjoyment of something, especially property


ventripotent – Big-bellied, gluttonous
vesthibitionism – The flirtatious display of undergarments by a woman
vigesimation – The act of killing every twentieth person
viraginity – Masculine qualities in a woman


wanweird – An unhappy fate
witzelsucht – A feeble attempt at humour


xenobombulate – To malinger
xerophagy – A diet of bread and water
ximelolagnia – The urge to stare at women who are sitting with crossed legs
xylopolist – One who sells wood products


yclept – By the name of; called


zenzizenzizenzic – A number raised to the eighth power

Source wit thanks: Unusual Words

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